cover image After-School Monster

After-School Monster

Marissa Moss. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10116-9

Returning from school to her supposedly empty home, Luisa finds a monster who announces: ``I'm going to gnash you! I'm going to bash you! I'm going to crash you!'' Growing progressively larger, the creature chases Luisa around the house until she jumps on a kitchen chair and proclaims that her tormenter can't hurt her, because she is ``strong inside, where you can't get me!'' Now it is the monster who is screaming for help, as Luisa's bravery causes it to shrink to a tiny size. Finally, the triumphant girl tosses the monster in the trash. While Moss's mildly entertaining tale may reassure some particularly intrepid youngsters, it will very likely reinforce the fears of more fainthearted latchkey kids. Though this monster is anything but realistic-looking, the idea of suggesting dangers to youngsters home alone seems ill-chosen. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)